But let me make one thing clear: civil partnerships are not some golden little gift awarded only to gay people. They are the nasty remnant of homophobic compromise. Just as the Tories couldn’t bring themselves to lower the age of consent for gay men from 21 to 16 without insulting us all with an interim drop to 18, so the repugnant concept of gay marriage was tempered by the creation of civil partnership.
But as we used to say, whilst fighting for same sex marriage: “the same, but different” is not the same as equal. Rosa Parks didn’t make her stand because she wasn’t allowed to travel to the same destinations on the same busses as white people. She refused to move because her being told to sit at the back of the bus sent out the message that black people were less valued than everyone else.
Essentially, there is very little difference between marriage and civil partnership. There are one or two tiny aspects regarding tax which favour marriage, but essentially the difference is merely in the words used to describe the institutions. Semantics no longer matter because equality - in civil marriage terms at least- has been achieved. (Don’t get me started on churches...)
I can think of no logical reason why a heterosexual couple would want to have a civil partnership other than to be deliberately provocative or to pathetically shun the “misogynist institution of marriage” so that they can lord it over those of us who are married. Their issue can’t have anything to do with religion. Marriage doesn’t have to be religious. You can get married in a register office or a venue which has been marriage-approved without any reference to God. In fact, in many cases it’s frowned upon or even disallowed. I know someone who was banned from walking into a register office to the Beach Boys’ God Only Knows because of its “religious content.”
This court case smacks of the same double standards that these oppressive religious types get caught up in when they say, in defence of their mean-spirited homophobia, “what about my rights not to be offended by gay people?” LGBT people fought for many years for equal marriage and to hear a straight couple whining that they desperately want what we fought so hard to move away from seems at best churlish and at worst, insulting. If you don’t like the concept of marriage and the various benefits and problems it brings, just don’t get married. A civil partnership will bring the very same positives and negatives.
It strikes me that Steinfelt and Keddan are simply trying to prove a point - and this, I’m afraid, comes across as both tasteless and a little homophobic because it puts a massive finger up to the struggle we fought for genuine equality.